Quote Center: Butler Postgame vs. Providence

Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

LaVall Jordan

Aaron Thompson

Butler Bulldogs

Providence - 80, Butler - 57

THE MODERATOR: Coach LaVall Jordan, Aaron Thompson.

LaVALL JORDAN: Obviously, a ton of credit to Coach Cooley and Providence. They deserved to win and advance with the way that they played. So it's obviously a tough one to swallow for our group, as you don't know if it's going to be last game or not.

As far as the game went, I thought our guys had a good fight. I thought the start went well, and they came out and adjusted about halfway through the first half and made it more of a smash-mouth game to get themselves back in it, and then give Maliek White credit. He hit a couple of big threes to get the momentum on their side heading into the half, and I thought that was a game changer, and we were trying to recover from that.

Obviously, they hadn't been shooting the three this well the last two times we played them. They hit 11, and they hadn't been doing that up to this point in the season. Their guys are getting better, and they're raising their level at the right time.

For our two seniors, just in that locker room there's a group of guys that care about each other, love each other, that wanted like crazy to advance and continue to fight for Butler, and it just didn't happen. It just didn't happen. I thought we had some good looks, especially early. I thought we had some great looks and didn't knock them down. Wish we could have been better for them with the zone attack in the second half, where they were getting baskets, and then they jumped out and played the three-point line and took everything outside away and made us drive it.

But proud of the fight that we had. Wish our execution could have been better. Wish we would have been better for them, like I said, against the zone.

Q. LaVall, obviously, Kamar had a tough night out here tonight. What would you attribute that to?
LaVALL JORDAN: I think earlier there was a lot of attention on him, and it opened some things up. Obviously, for Aaron, he scored in the first half early. Jordan came in and did well early when he checked in. And in the zone, takes a little bit of that away because you've got to move the ball against the zone and swing it around and look for opportunities to attack. So you can't just keep it. It's not just going to be in Kamar's hands with the second half when they switch to zone.

Q. Aaron, you guys took a quick double-digit lead over Providence to start. What changed that allowed the Friars to take control?
AARON THOMPSON: I think they just started hitting shots, like Coach said. They made some defensive adjustments and started going a little more zone, and Maliek White hit some big shots to get him going, get some energy going for them and kind of sparked them.

Q. Curious as far as the matchups are concerned because throughout this league, you know each other really well, 16 days, you guys played three times. And yet today we were wondering inside the community if there would be some kind of adjustments, kind of like the Boston Celtics did with the Golden State Warriors, where you play a little differently at playoff time, at tournament time, show them something different. You came out on fire, did a great job. How was the thought process as far as the matchups were concerned?
LaVALL JORDAN: I thought the adjustment we made led to early success at the start of the game. We did a good job pressuring them. We switched a couple matchups, and they were on their heels to start, turned it over a few times, or they did not get into what they like to get into. Then we mixed up some defenses.

And then they just -- Alpha decided or they went to him in a couple of isolations, and he finished a couple of tough baskets. Then White stepped up and made threes. If they're making threes, they're a different team to guard.

Q. Coach, how tough is it that you haven't had much success here in the tournament since starting in the league? I know you've only been here for two years, but how tough is that? Is there something about this place? You know, other coaches talk about how much they love coming here, but it's a tough one for you guys to come here.
LaVALL JORDAN: No, I think we'd love to stay longer. Providence had a different thought in mind, and you've got to battle. I don't know, just in terms of the past as much. I know it's a heck of a league. You look at all the parity in the league this year, every game's going to be a battle. You get to here in March, and everybody -- there's good coaches, and there's good players. For them, there's a different guy stepping up tonight. It was Reeves last time and White this time.

Just in general, I know you come and put your best foot forward and fight the best you can. You try to adjust and coach the best you can and see where the chips fall, but I don't know if there's anything to it other than every year's different, every team's different, and you go out there and do what you know and do what's given you success in that season with that group.

Q. Would you guys consider a postseason bid in some tournament if it's offered?
LaVALL JORDAN: Depends on the tournament. I mean, we'll see. We'll see what happens. I'd love to have this group be able to fight together again.

Joseph Jarzynka